A refrigerator (colloquially fridge) consists of a thermally insulated compartment and a heat pump (mechanical, electronic or chemical) that transfers heat from the inside of the fridge to its external environment so that the inside of the fridge is cooled to a temperature below the room temperature. Refrigeration is an essential food storage technique in developed countries. The lower temperature lowers the reproduction rate of bacteria, so the refrigerator reduces the rate of spoilage. A refrigerator maintains a temperature a few degrees above the freezing point of water. Optimum temperature range for perishable food storage is 3 to 5 °C (37 to 41 °F). A similar device that maintains a temperature below the freezing point of water is called a freezer. The refrigerator replaced the icebox, which had been a common household appliance for almost a century and a half.
The first cooling systems for food involved ice. Artificial refrigeration began in the mid-1750s, and developed in the early 1800s. In 1834, the first working vapor-compression refrigeration system was built. The first commercial ice-making machine was invented in 1854. In 1913, refrigerators for home use were invented. In 1923 Frigidaire introduced the first self-contained unit. The introduction of Freon in the 1920s expanded the refrigerator market during the 1930s. Home freezers as separate compartments (larger than necessary just for ice cubes) were introduced in 1940. Frozen foods, previously a luxury item, became commonplace.
Freezer units are used in households and in industry and commerce. Commercial refrigerator and freezer units were in use for almost 40 years prior to the common home models. The freezer-on-top-and-refrigerator-on-bottom style had been the basic style since the 1940s, until modern refrigerators broke the trend. A vapor compression cycle is used in most household refrigerators, refrigerator–freezers and freezers. Newer refrigerators may include automatic defrosting, chilled water, and ice from a dispenser in the door.
Domestic refrigerators and freezers for food storage are made in a range of sizes. Among the smallest are Peltier-type refrigerators designed to chill beverages. A large domestic refrigerator stands as tall as a person and may be about 1 m wide with a capacity of 600 L. Refrigerators and freezers may be free-standing, or built into a kitchen. The refrigerator allows the modern household to keep food fresh for longer than before. Freezers allow people to buy food in bulk and eat it at leisure, and bulk purchases save money.

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  1. M

    How long is it ok to leave meat out of the fridge?

    I took some beef mince out of the fridge when I left work about 5pm, it's now 7:40pm and I just remembered I forgot to put it back in the fridge so it has been out about 2.5hrs. about 50 mins of that was the journey home in the car and then the rest from when I got home. It's about 14°C outside...
  2. CraigC

    Fridge Fixating

    Do you ever open the fridge or freezer door and just stare inside? I catch myself doing that sometimes. :eek:
  3. mjd

    What strange items do you have in your fridge or freezer?

    So, some of us were talking about foods that some blogger said she couldn't go in the fridge (Foods That You Should Never Put In The Refrigerator). I went a bit toward freezers so I thought it would be fun for us to talk about what strange items you keep in your fridge or freezer. Milk - I...
  4. MypinchofItaly

    Show us your Fridge Magnets

    I like to look at my fridge magnets, each one has a story, mostly linked to travels/trips I had and bought them as a memory/souvenir; other ones are about travels/trips that have had someone else who gave me as a nice thought. Sadly some of my fridge magnets has been broken, thus they are not...
  5. rascal

    Fridge freezer kaput!

    Had enough of the maytag unit, freezer keeps playing up. Just been out looking at new, from 2k to 6k. Just need to decide which one, has to be plumbed with ice cubes and shaved, plus water filtered. Russ
  6. rascal


    I have a maytag fridge freezer and I got up this morning with daughter saying, water isn't working on fridge door and yoghurt was frozen and other stuff. The fridge has a fan at top left, with daughter and her son here the fridge is full, food and kids stuff, yoghurt fruit (inpottles) cheeses...
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